Friday, May 03, 2013

TZIF (Thank Zeus it’s Friday)

It’s May 3 and I’m sitting at my desk watching snowflakes swirl around the parking lot outside my window. Yesterday, some locations just south of the Twin Cities got 16 inches of snow. Global warming or the new Ice Age or both? It really doesn’t matter. It’s depressing either way.

Yesterday Clive Crook, a columnist for Bloomberg View, wrote a piece on economist Paul Krugman, essentially saying, “Hey Paul, love your work, but if you would just tone down the snarky and condescending attitude, more people might listen to you.”  The basic premise of Crook’s argument is highly dubious. People who dislike Krugman do so because they have fundamental disagreements with his economic philosophy, the snarky attitude is only icing on their ire cake. And why does Krugman occasionally snipe at his detractors?

Let’s say you have a friend who believes the earth is flat. You want to help your friend understand that all the evidence we have indicates the world is round. However, your friend says all of his ancestors believed the earth was flat and when he looks to the horizon it is flat. You show him all of the photos and maps and scientific studies that demonstrate the earth is round, but your friend still refuses to believe you. What happens? You become frustrated. Very frustrated. All of the economic evidence we have indicates that austerity is not the approach to take at this point in time. In his articles and blog, Krugman has been pointing this out in every way conceivable, yet European leaders and our own political elites refuse to alter their views. So he gets frustrated. Even if Krugman’s solutions are wrong, the fact that the world’s leaders continue to cling to austerity in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is not working will make a person frustrated to the point of…well, snarkiness.

The good news: The economy added 165,000 workers in April and unemployment dropped from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent. The bad news: We are in the slowest job market recovery since WWII.

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